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Academy Award-winning H.E.R.: “I thank God for giving us these gifts”
Photo: Chris Pizzello-Pool/Getty Images

Academy Award-winning H.E.R.: “I thank God for giving us these gifts” 

Despite still being held under COVID-19 restrictions, the 2021 Academy Awards managed to deliver a glamourous show full of memorable acceptance speeches.

One of them was by the Filipino-American singer H.E.R., who took home the award for Best Original Song for “Fight for You.”

The track was written for the movie “Judas and the Black Messiah.”

“Thank you to the Academy. I have always wanted to say that! I have to thank God for giving us these gifts and my parents; my beautiful mother who is here with me today and my father at home. All those days of listening to Sly and the Family Stone and Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye, they really paid off. So, thank you, Dad,” H.E.R. said as she accepted the award.

She then went on to talk about the power of music.

“Musicians, filmmakers, I believe we have an opportunity and a responsibility to tell the truth and to write history the way that it was and how it connects us to today and what we see going on in the world today. Knowledge is power, music is power, and as long as I am standing, I am always going to fight for us. I am always going to fight for my people and fight for what is right. I think that is what music does, and that is what storytelling does.”

By winning, H.E.R.’s “Fight for You” beat “Husavik” from “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga,” “Io si (Seen)” from “The Life Ahead,” “Speak Now” from “One Night in Miami…” and “Hear My Voice” from “The Trial of the Chicago 7.”

Famous since childhood

H.E.R., who has the civil name Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson, was born in the United States to a Filipina mother and an African American father.

As a kid, Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson appeared on the Today Show where she covered Alicia Keys, and she also got a role in the Nickelodeon movie “School Gyrls.”

When she was just 11 years old, she was managed by Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment and made appearances on shows such as Good Morning America and The View.

Her big breakthrough came in 2016, when she released her debut EP, “H.E.R. Vol. 1.”

“H.E.R. Vol. 2” followed in 2017, and later that year, the compilation album “H.E.R.” was released with all of the songs from the previous EP’s.

The album received a gold certification in Canada and a platinum certification in the United States, meaning that it sold more than 40,000 copies in Canada and one million in the United States.

“H.E.R” peaked on number 23 on Billboard’s Billboard 200 chart.

In 2019, she released her second compilation album called “I Used to Know Her.”

Over the years, H.E.R. has won several awards, including five Soul Train Music Awards, three Grammy Awards, one BET Award now also an Academy Award. Watch H.E.R.’s acceptance speech in the video below.

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